Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pits & Perils Gets a Rebirth...

Back in 2015, that's right before the Pits & Perils hardcover omnibus, we argued against the need for a second edition of the game.  It was the right decision at the time, as we lacked the ability to take it any further - and besides, why mess with fate?  That crappy little rulebook from the 1970s would remain just that; only now it's time for a second edition...

You see, the game has undergone many changes (we like to think of them as refinements) over the past seven years, which was pretty much inevitable as our little ruleset went to conventions and we listened to feedback from the community.  Much of this was included in the Referee Companion; but at this point it feels clunky and ad hoc, which was never our vision for the game.  What we're doing now is still decidedly old-school (channeling Tunnels & Trolls, among others), although simpler and more streamlined than ever, and this argues strongly for a second edition, especially given the original concept.

But we don't want to change too much.  Our goal has always been to craft a second edition where characters from the first could be imported with zero changes required, even as it makes substantial adjustments to the way the rules are done.  Change too much and we're not talking about the same system, which would feel like a huge slap in the face.

So yeah, we're refining the mechanics.  But we're also adding more content in the form of spells (and miracles), monsters, and magic items.  One advantage of a second edition is the opportunity to add value, and this is low-hanging fruit we can't resist.  Some of this comes from The Collected Pits & Perils, but we're not stopping there.  What a game lacks in heavy mechanics it should make up for in content, especially one with P&P's ambitions.  Expect a game that feels like the original, but with its extra space devoted to the things needed to play (and run) a good fantasy campaign.  We'll try our best to make it happen.

But what about production?  Pits & Perils has always advertised itself as a crappy little rulebook from the amateur underground of the 1970s.  Luckily, this isn't confined to manual type and grainy artwork lifted from library books.  The earliest RPGs (including everyone's favorite) were ambitious in their design, although limited by a lack of money and the amateur status of their creators; and one need look no further than early Judge's Guild to see what we're talking about.  Throw in Ralph Bakshi's rotoscope and you'll get the picture...

Let's face it, our abilities have improved.  Now we can make the games we've wanted to, delightfully old-school, decidedly underground, and simple.  Some years ago we asked here in this blog when it was time for a second edition.  That time is now.  We're assuming a year to get this project done, and we'll keep everyone updated as it happens.  

Big news, right?  But what about the original version?  We're thinking this might stick around as the Heritage Edition, maybe a digest-sized affair in homage to OD&D, although we're guessing Matt Jackson will doubly approve.  Taking a game people already like because it isn't a second (or third) edition is fraught with its own pits and perils, and we'll be taking every precaution to ensure we don't disappoint anyone.  I know we can't possibly succeed, but here's hoping most everyone understands what we're trying to do.  Now it's time to crank up Abba and the Bee Gees, que Hawk the Slayer, and put our noses to the grindstone...


  1. LOL Wholeheartedly approve! ;-)

  2. What?! *running in circles around room*

  3. Awesome news! I'm really looking forward to this! :)

  4. That's PERFECT news, brother! Looking forward to it!

  5. Oh man! Nice quarantine news! I'm excited to more posts about the upcomming changes!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Just noticed I've already let you know that I'm looking forward to it ;D

  7. Great news!
    Thks to the translation by Chibi, the game has quite a good reputation in France.
    Do you have a release date in mind?